Peppermint Ice Cream

HolidayIce CreamPeppermint

Homemade peppermint ice cream, perfect for the holidays! Step-by-step instructions with photos.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

I love peppermint ice cream! Too bad around here the grocery stores only stock it during the holiday season.

This week I decided to make my own and got some great advice from the king of desserts himself, David Lebovitz on just how to go about it. David is the author of a fantastic book on ice cream, so he should know!

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I fudged a bit with the ingredient proportions that David gave me, but the method is all his. Thank you David.

As with French vanilla ice cream this method requires cooking a custard to add to the cream. It’s a little more work, but the egg yolks are what makes the homemade ice cream divinely creamy. Otherwise, without all the emulsifiers that typically go into the store bought versions, homemade ice cream can be a bit icy.

If I’m going to go to the trouble to make something from scratch, I want it to taste better than what I can buy from a store, and this does.

Peppermint Ice Cream

Peppermint Ice Cream Recipe

  • Yield: Makes 1 1/2 quarts


  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • 1/2 cup crushed candy canes or hard peppermint candy

Special equipment:


1 Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Make sure the sugar and salt completely dissolve.

2 Prepare ice bath: Pour the cream into a metal bowl set in a larger bowl of ice and set a medium-mesh sieve on top.

prepare ice bath for ice cream

3 Temper egg yolks: In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

temper egg yolks for peppermint ice cream custard base

4 Heat custard until thick: Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a wooden or heatproof rubber spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spoon, about 5-7 minutes.

thicken custard for peppermint ice cream

5 Strain over ice bath, chill: Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Then stir until cool over the ice bath. Chill mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator.

Strain custard over ice bath, chill

6 Add peppermint extract: One the mixture is thoroughly chilled, add peppermint extract, a 1/4 teaspoon at a time, tasting the mixture after each addition, until you reach the desired level of pepperminty-ness. (Different peppermint extracts vary in strength. I used 2 teaspoons of McCormick peppermint extract, which was just the right amount for our taste.)

7 Process in ice cream maker: Once chilled, process in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

8 Fold in crush peppermint candy: Once the ice cream has been formed in the ice cream maker, it will be fairly soft. Fold in the crushed peppermint candy. Put in an airtight plastic container and place in the freezer for at least an hour, preferably several hours. If it has been frozen for more than a day, you may need to let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften it before serving.

fold crushed peppermints into ice cream

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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50 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Christie

    Great recipe!! The ice cream has perfect consistency and delicious taste! I highly recommend this recipe!


  2. M. MacBride

    Just made the peppermint ice cream today for my friend’s birthday. It was delicious!!I followed the recipe but added a teaspoon of vanilla to round out the flavors. Will definitely make again.


  3. Susannah

    I live in England and miss peppermint ice cream so much especially at Christmas. This is the real deal. Delicious.


  4. Anne

    I’ve made this twice now. We can’t get peppermint stick ice cream even at the holidays anymore. I bought an ice cream maker just so I could make this recipe. It’s my mom’s favorite. Made the recipe as written right down to McCormick peppermint extract. It was a huge hit. All said it’s better than the store-bought! The second batch is going home for Christmas. Thank you so much for the recipe!


  5. Caro

    This is my first time making ice cream and I think it worked quite well. I didn’t mess up the custard and the consistency is creamy and flavour generally yummy.

    However, To make a second time, I find the taste slightly custard-y egg-y and a bit heavy. What could be good options for “lightening” this recipe? And What would be the result of reducing the number of egg yolks? Also, I recommend adding and tasting the peppermint flavoring until you are satisfied… I think I would have gone for more pepper-minty flavor- but that’s just me. I also added in small chunks of dark chocolate at the end. :)


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